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1. Tan vs.

OMC Carriers Digest


G.R. No. 190521: January 12, 2011
LETICIA TAN, MYRNA MEDINA, MARILOU SPOONER, ROSALINDA TAN,
and MARY JANE TAN, MARY LYN TAN, CELEDONIO TAN, JR., MARY OY
TAN, and MARK ALLAN AN, represented herein by their mother,
LETICIA TAN,Petitioners vs. OMC CARRIERS, INC. and BONIFACIO
ARAMBALA, Respondents.
FACTS: Respondent OMC Carriers owned a truck, driven by respondent
Arambala, which crashed into the home of petitioners Tan when its braking
mechanism failed. This caused the death of the head of the family, Celedonio
Tan. The Tans went to court to demand damages due to the negligence of OMC.
OMC counters that the truck went out of control because of motor oil spilled on
the road. The RTC found OMC to be liable, that the brake of the truck
malfunctioned, and that there was no motor oil which caused the accident. The
driver, Aramballa, abandoned the truck when the brakes did not work which
caused the truck to slam into the home of the Tans. The RTC awarded actual
damages, both on the loss of property and earning capacity of Celedonio.
Exemplary damages were also awarded. Upon appeal to the Court of Appeals,
the actual damages for loss of property was reduced as they were insufficiently
substantiated. The damages for loss of earning capacity was deleted for being
totally unsubstantiated. The Tans were unable to present documents to
ascertain the amount of earning capacity lost. Exemplary damages were also
reduced.
ISSUES: Whether or not:
a) the reduction of actual damages for loss of property was proper;
b) the removal of actual damages for loss of earning capacity was proper; and
c) whether or not the reduction of exemplary damages was proper.
HELD: The petition is partly meritorious.
Civil Law: Temperate damages are awarded when the exact amount of
damages is unknown. The petitioners clearly suffered damages. Their home
and property were damaged. The provider of the family passed away. It is clear
and undisputed that they did suffer losses. However, since the value of the
properties damaged could not be determined with certainty because of the
nature of the property, temperate damages are in order. Also, even if there are
no documents supporting the earning capacity of the deceased, the damage
caused is still undisputed. Temperate damages must be awarded. The

reduction of exemplary damages are proper as exemplary damages are not


meant to enrich or reduce another party to poverty.
Consistent with pertinent jurisprudence, the interest on these awards must be
computed from the date when the RTC rendered its decision in the civil case, or
on June 17, 2008, as it was at this time that a quantification of the damages
may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained.